Radical Ritual

Introduction

2017 Art Theme

  • Burning Man 2017: Radical Ritual

    “We are among the first peoples in human history who do not broadly inherit religious identity as a given, a matter of kin and tribe, like hair color and hometown. But the very fluidity of this—the possibility of choice that arises, the ability to craft and discern one’s own spiritual bearings—is not leading to the …Read More

Posts in the Series

  • How Rituals Help Us Navigate the World — and Our Psyches

    Ritual, Dr. Tanya Luhrmann says, is the way we connect the world as it ought to be with the world as it is – and orient ourselves to it. Her anthropological work has taken Luhrmann into communities ranging from contemporary witches in England to Zorostrians in India; instructors and students studying psychiatry in America; and …Read More
  • Finding My Humanity in a Red Tea Ceremony

    Of the many rituals that happen at Burning Man, the one that sparked my curiosity most was the one that I came to participate in myself. …Read More
  • The Gold Spike

    “A common cause, a common activity, a common ritual — a thing we do — may be a more effective bond for community than a thing we think or believe.” — Caveat Magister Pepe Ozan was a man steeped in ritual. In 1996, ’97, and ’98, he had brought his opera performances to Black Rock City, …Read More
  • On Radical Repetition — or, Is Larry Trolling or Enlightening Everyone by Recycling Past Themes?

    You don’t need to be a Burning Man veteran to realize that Radical Ritual, the 2017 art theme, shamelessly rips off Beyond Belief, the 2003 theme. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Sure, that year’s Man stood on top of a vaguely Mesoamerican pyramid, and this year’s Man will be shrouded by a vaguely East …Read More
  • Across This Line, Everything Will Be Different

    Consider the tea ceremony. The elegance of each stylized gesture. The deliberate pace. The simple beauty of its rustic implements. How is it that this ancient ritual is so definitively and quintessentially Japanese? Viewed through the lens of mass culture, it can be hard to understand. Why not just microwave some water, dunk in a …Read More
  • Why Ritual is Relevant

    If the crisis of Western Culture could be reduced to a bumper sticker, it might be this one: “Nietzsche Was Right.” In 1882, Nietzsche put some stunning words in the mouth of a character: God is dead, we have killed him, and the implications are staggering. Let me quote from the passage: “Is not the …Read More
  • Radical Ritual: Spirit and Soul

    Our art theme in 2017 is Radical Ritual. This leads to an obvious question: Just what is so radical about ritual? …Read More
  • Burning Man 2017: Radical Ritual

    “We are among the first peoples in human history who do not broadly inherit religious identity as a given, a matter of kin and tribe, like hair color and hometown. But the very fluidity of this—the possibility of choice that arises, the ability to craft and discern one’s own spiritual bearings—is not leading to the …Read More